If you were avidly following the Women’s World Cup like me, you’ll also feel a rather large hole in your life right now. But don’t worry, remember the top ten moments from the tournament below, and leave your favourites from Canada in the comments below.
10. Goals Galore
It may not be a single moment, but the incredible goals scored at the World Cup were too good to miss off this list. There was something for everyone.
If stunning shots into the top corner of the net are your thing, look no further than France’s Amandine Henry against Mexico, Ange N’Guessan of the Ivory Coast against Norway or our England’s very own Lucy Bronze, also against Norway.
If team goals do it for you, then there were collective gems finished off by Mizuho Sakaguchi (Japan) and Eugenie Le Sommer (France), whilst we also saw a perfect free-kick from Norway’s Maren Mjelde.
Finally, I come to the final, where we saw a superbly well-timed volley from Lauren Holiday and an incredible lob from the halfway line from Player of the Tournament Carli Lloyd.
9. Kirby gets things going
After a 1-0 draw to France in their opening game, England needed some inspiration against Mexico, with the score still 0-0 with over an hour gone.
Up stepped Fran Kirby, who had been superb all game, in the 71st minute, with cool composure and finishing to score. It capped an incredible journey for the 22 year old, who quit football four years ago after suffering from depression following the death of her mother.
Karen Carney’s header put the Lionesses 2-0 up before Fabiola Ibarra got one back for Mexico, but it was Kirby who earned the plaudits, with Mark Sampson dubbing her ‘mini Messi’.
It was the lift that England needed, and kick-started a tournament that would end in historic fashion. Meanwhile, Kirby has been snapped up by Chelsea Ladies for an undisclosed British record fee since the tournament, proving how good a player she is.
8. Colombia surprise the French
Just a few hours before that moment of magic from Fran Kirby, the tournament witnessed its first shock as Colombia, ranked 28th in the world and who had never won a World Cup game previously, beat 3rd ranked France 2-0 in Group F.
The impressive Lady Andrade, who lit up the tournament with her silky skills and tricks, raced clear in the first half to fire under the goalkeeper.
Then in second half stoppage time as the French were desperately pushing for an equaliser, Usme Pineda pounced on a defensive error to complete the upset.
It also helped the Colombians qualify for the knockout stages for the first time ever before being beaten by the USA, whilst France recovered well by beating Mexico 5-0 in their next game to still go through as group winners.
7. Humm’s record hat-trick
There were plenty of records broken at the World Cup, and one came from an unlikely source, 19th ranked Switzerland. More specifically, their forward Fabienne Humm.
During her country’s 10-1 demolition of Ecuador, the 28 year old scored the fastest Women’s World Cup hat-trick in history, doing so in just five minutes.
The score was 2-0 at half-time, and Humm struck in the 47th, 49th and 52nd minutes to pile more misery on Ecuador, who had lost 6-0 to Cameroon in their opening game.
The 10-1 scoreline also equalled the record for the most goals scored in one Women’s World Cup match, following Germany’s 11-0 win over Argentina back in 2007.
6. Marta mirrors Klose
Everyone knows that Marta is one of the greatest women’s players of all time, and cemented herself in World Cup history in Canada.
Just as Miroslav Klose did 12 months ago at the men’s World Cup, the Brazilian broke the record for all-time goals scored in the tournament – 15.
By scoring a penalty against South Korea, Marta surpassed the previous record held by former Germany striker Birgit Prinz.
Earlier in the game, her team-mate Formiga opened the scoring to become, at 37, the oldest goalscorer in the tournament’s history. Another record, and there’s more to come.
5. Australia cause an upset
But Marta and Brazil were sent crashing down to earth with a bump in the knockout stages, as they were stunned by Australia in the round of 16.
I had predicted the South American nation to reach the final, but ‘the Matildas’ won 1-0 thanks to Kyah Simon’s 80th minute goal from close range after Brazil goalkeeper Luciana had spilled the ball.
It meant that Australia equalled their best ever World Cup performance by reaching the quarter-finals, but that was as far as they got as they lost 1-0 Japan, cruelly conceding a late goal (we all know what that feels like). None the less, just as in England, there was a feeling in Oz that their team had inspired a nation.
Meanwhile, the shock result also meant a premature end to the tournament for Brazil legends Marta and Cristiane, who we may never see at a World Cup again.
4. England knock out the hosts
After winning their first ever World Cup knock-out stage game against Norway, there was a real sense of optimism in the England camp going into their quarter-final against hosts Canada.
Both managers, Mark Sampson and John Herdman, both British and good friends, were confident going into game. With pretty much the whole stadium against them, the Lionesses performed superbly to prove the doubters wrong.
Jodie Taylor, making her first World Cup start nine weeks after knee surgery, capitalised on Lauren Sesselmann’s blunder to finish brilliantly, giving England an 11th minute lead. Then, just three minutes later, Lucy Bronze headed in Fara Williams’ free-kick to double the advantage. Watching at home, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
Christine Sinclair got one back for Canada just before half-time, but the Lionesses defended heroically and held on to reach a first ever World Cup semi-final.
3. Germany hit 10
On the second day of the tournament we were treated to an incredible display by number one ranked Germany, as they smashed the Ivory Coast 10-0, and it could have been a lot more.
Eventual top scorer Celia Sasic scored a hat-trick and Anja Mittag netted twice as Germany were 5-0 up inside 35 minutes. Mittag completed her own treble after the break, with Simone Laudehr, Sara Dabritz, Melanie Behringer and Alexandra Popp all finding the net.
It perhaps wasn’t all that surprising considering the match was between the highest and lowest ranked teams at the tournament, but it was still the biggest winning margin in Canada and the second biggest in World Cup history.
Silvia Neid’s side sent out a message to the rest of the competing countries as they proved their credentials as tournament favourites.
2. The Lionesses make history
Despite that 10-0 win, Germany stuttered to the semi-finals, and were lucky to beat France in the last eight. The USA were the ones who eventually knocked them out in the lost four, which set up a third place play-off encounter with England, who had lost 2-1 to Japan in their semi-final in the most cruel of circumstances courtesy of Laura Bassett’s own goal.
Many had expected Germany to win the tournament, whilst few thought England would make it this far, whilst Silvia Neid’s team beat the Lionesses 3-0 at Wembley last November, making the odds even more against Mark Sampson’s squad.
Furthermore, in 20 previous attempts, England had never beaten the Germans. However, they had got better as the tournament progressed, and weren’t going to let it slip.
Fara Williams’ extra-time penalty was enough to secure the win, meaning that England achieved their best ever finish at a World Cup in 3rd place – the best performance from a team from this country since 1966.
To end up with bronze medals meant they surpassed expectations, inspired a nation back home and made everyone proud.
1. Lloyd’s final
What made this such a special World Cup was that arguably the best moment of all came in the greatest game of all – the final.
The USA were out for revenge against Japan, who had beaten them in the final in 2011, but no one predicted what was to happen at BC Place in Vancouver.
Carli Lloyd was the star of the show in a 5-2 victory, putting the USA 2-0 up within five minutes in a stunning start to the match. Lauren Holiday then made it three with a superb volley, before Lloyd completed her hat-trick with one of the goals of the tournament.
The 30 year old had the confidence to shoot from the halfway line and was able to lob Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori to send the majority of the 53,341 fans inside the stadium into pure pandemonium.
She had scored three goals in the opening 16 minutes, meaning she was the first women to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, whilst Geoff Hurst is the only other person to achieve the feat.
It was also the fastest ever World Cup hat-trick scored from kick-off, and Lloyd was deservedly awarded Player of the Tournament after the match.